Thursday, October 14, 2010

Black Walnut picking time

October in Missouri means it's time to start picking black walnuts! There is nothing quite like the distinctive aroma of walnuts that only gets stronger as the load gets bigger and permates the air at the hulling station. Though seldom a real moneymaker, picking walnuts is a way to get outdoors, spend time with my daughter, and enjoy the cool fall air. Better yet, this annual tradition from the farm transfers easily to the city. There are more landowners to deal with, but some will even pay me to pick up the walnuts.

I bought a "nut wizard" this year to make the job go faster and keep my hands cleaner. I have to say, it works slick as snot!!! For the most part the nuts slip right in the basket. I have nuts pop in that surprise me because I didn't even see them, it works so good. When the basket is full, the nuts will drop right out in a bucket with the supplied wire do-dad. Three to four basket fulls fills a bucket. When I have two buckets full, it is then dumped in my trailer.

The basket appears to be stainless with a quality solid wood handle. The only issues I've had are in tall grass (about eight inches or higher) and the ones with hulls flattened by cars into a disk shape. It will still pick up the hulled nuts, so I kick the disks till the hull falls off. Tall grass is still a hand pick job though. I'm rating this a 9.8 out of 10 on my initial review.

My daughter's favorite part is removing the wire do-dad from the buckets and moving walnuts back and forth between the two buckets. Thankfully, she is a great sport, loves tagging along with dad, stays in sight, and even picks up a couple walnuts now and then.

I'm also attempting a mobile buyer operation. The big downside of selling at the hullers is the wait time is often an hour or two. I don't mind as I bring a book with me to read. However, I imagine there are lots of people who have better things to do with the time, especially if they have a small volume to sell.

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